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First of five lawsuits against former Woods Run prison guard settled

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Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 6:24 p.m.

A state prison inmate has settled his lawsuit against former Woods Run prison guard Harry Nicoletti, two other guards and three administrators, Nicoletti's lawyer said on Thursday.

Steven Townsend said the terms of the settlement are confidential.

Jon Pushinsky, the attorney for “John Roe,” filed a motion on Thursday dismissing Nicoletti from the case, but Townsend, Nicoletti's lawyer, said the settlement covers all of the defendants.

The agreement leaves four other lawsuits pending against Nicoletti.

“It's the first one to settle,” Townsend said.

Pushinsky could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit claimed the three guards physically abused the inmate and threatened him with rape while he was being held in SCI-Pittsburgh. It claims the three administrators either knew about the widespread abuse of inmates or chose to “purposely remain ignorant of the terror.”

Allegheny County juries convicted Nicoletti and one of the other guards named in the lawsuit, Tory D. Kelly, 42, of Aliquippa, of charges related to inmate abuse. Both are serving sentences of probation.

The third guard named in the lawsuit, Kevin Friess, 33, of Bellevue, was cleared of all charges. His lawyer, Jonathan Gesk, could not be reached.

The state is representing the three former prison administrators named in the lawsuit: Melvin Lockett, Martin Kovacs and Janice Niemiec.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or

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